Posted below is a slightly longer version of my column in today's Globe and Mail regarding the Harper government's highly creative approach to making up labour law on the run.
Has a sitting Premier ever supported workers over bosses during a strike? My question is limited to a strike which occurred while the Premier was in office and in the province of said Premier.
However, one doesn't have to limit one's comments to answering my question. ;)
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There's an interesting new research report from Statistics Canada, by Ping Ching Winnie Chan, Rene Morissette, and Marc Frenette, profiling the workers who were displaced in the recent recession, and comparing the outcomes to previous recessions in earlier decades (the downturns of the early 1980s and 1990s). Workers Laid Off During the Last Three Recessions is part of StatsCan's Analytical Studies series.
I haven't been through the report in detail and can't comment on the methodology, but here are some of the interesting (and often surprising) findings:
Any time commentators speak of a new 'age,' powerful assumptions quickly become entrenched in our thinking. An 'age of austerity' now encompasses many western economies as governments launch fierce campaigns against workers to lower public sector wages. At the same time, capital has taken a 'wait and see' attitude resulting in an unprecedented hoarding of surplus and thereby limiting investment and real job creation. As unions are put on the defensive by austerity measures, calls for broader working-class organizations from diverse groups on the left have become commonplace. Difficult questions remain around how to build such formations and what role organized labour can play, if any, in their development.
Maureen Hynes and Sue Smith will be hosting the third of three walking conversations on labour history in Toronto. This Spadina walking tour explores the plight of the garment worker. The walk will discuss the struggles for safe working conditions and adequate pay in an industry that is still plagued with labour abuses and challenges.
This is a free event!
Bring your walking shoes and a friend or two!
At the completion of the walk we will convene to continue the conversation.
Rain or shine!
Hope to see you there!